[Sca-cooks] Food and personality

Barbara Benson voxeight at gmail.com
Wed Mar 5 12:11:26 PST 2008

>>  Bear I think you are making a linguistic mistake equating
"fagioli" with favas
>  and chickpeas.  "Fagioli" derives from "phaseolus" and according to Pliny
>  and others is different from favas and chickpeas.  There has been some
>  dispute about precisely what "phaseolus" was, but a number of sources
>  believe that it was a member of genus Vigna, essentially some variant of the
>  black-eyed pea.  There is a 16th Century Italian painting titled "The Bean
>  Eater" which shows an Italian peasant chowing down on what looks
>  suspiciously like a bowl of black-eyed peas.
>  While the term "phaseolus" has become the genus name for the New World
>  beans, "fagioli" modernly encompasses both genus Phaseolus and genus Vigna.

Suspiciously, I would say exactly like a bowl of black eyed peas! This
touches on something that has been twittering about in my brain for a
while now.

Several years ago I was doing research for a German feast and I ended
up on a German Cookery list (in German heh) and they were incredibly
helpful. One of the questions I asked was about what kind of bean to
use in a specific recipe. One respondent said said that it was most
likely referring to chickpeas. He then added the latin name (Vigna
unguiculata) and described it as being readily identifiable by the
black spot at it's center.

Based on that I realized that he was talking about black eyed peas not
what we colloquially refer to as Chickpeas. And this is what got me to
thinking, and this is what has been swimming around in my brain. Are a
goodly number of European individuals are that the English colloquial
term for black eyed peas is Chickpeas? What do the British call black
eyed peas? Here in the US we use Chickpea and Garbanzo beans
interchangeably, but does the rest of the world? And if there is a
considerable segment of non-native English speakers who say Chickpeas
but are thinking black eyed peas - what about the culinary manuscripts
that have been translated by Europeans into English? I know that many
of the texts we use were translated not by Americans, but by other
experts from Europe. If they learned English from someone that taught
them that Chickpea = black eyed pea, then maybe our understanding of
certain recipes is very wrong.

So, I finally got that out of my brain and out here where y'all can
pick it to pieces.

What do y'all think?

Serena da Riva

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